Friday, June 14, 2013

Privacy vs Security

PRISM is a word that most of us have heard by now. It is the program that the NSA has used where all our email and phone calls are tracked. What is being debated since the leak of all this information is what is more important, being secure from terrorist attacks or our privacy. For me the privacy aspect takes be back to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution:

On June 6, an article in the Huffington Post exposed the extent of how far reaching the PRISM program really is. Here is an excerpt:

It must be noted that this is prior to the launch of PRISM in 2007. It is one thing to tap lines and follow emails of known and suspected terrorist. It is another thing to retrieve everything that happens across the internet.

I am not naive to think there is such a thing as complete privacy when it comes to the internet but I also don't believe that complete security exists either. I support my government and law officials work to thwart crime but only within the bounds set by the constitution.

I prefer my privacy over my security. Yes, I prefer my privacy over my security. I have complete confidence in the CIA and the FBI but I do not believe (and I could be wrong) that the government needs to track all my calls and all my online activities to stop a terrorist.

I am a law abiding citizen and until the Constitution is amended I will stand by the 4th amendment and require that law officials must provide a warrant to track my online activities. If I was a convicted criminal, that would be different. If you chose to break the law then you have every right to expect to lose your rights but when millions of Americans follow the laws of the land the government has no right to look into people's private lives.

So how much do I value my privacy? When I first set up my Facebook account in 2009 I read through the entire privacy policy of Facebook then put my settings on the strictest privacy settings. So tight that you will not find me on Facebook unless we are already friends on Facebook. Accept if you are the NSA then apparently you can.

I recently watched a series on PBS titled, "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal"
(The series is over now but you can get it on DVD for $29.99. I highly recommend this) But that aside the series impressed upon me how unique our country is and what we have in the Constitution is a very groundbreaking document. With that my rights are very important to me and even when the first Patriot Act was passed I was very bothered by it. For me if laws are passed by Congress that start to chip away at our guaranteed rights under the Constitution then I fear this Democracy we have in America, what makes us unique compared to other countries, will slowly slip away.

Yes, the Patriot Act makes the PRISM program legal, but is it right? It stands on shaking ground when we ask if it is constitutional. It is on shaking ground because no warrant was ever issued to me or any other American citizen, as far as I know, before tracking our phone calls and following our email. That for me is a violation of my 4th Amendment right and causes me to distrust my government and wonder if they are really doing this for my best interest.

So what about you? Do you prefer your privacy or your security? And why?

An Addendum: